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The Ethico-Philosophical Debate in Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2016, 29(1), pp.219-240
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

KIM,TAI-WOO 1

1국민대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Jumpers, Tom Stoppard’s second major play, occupies a significant place in the development of Tom Stoppard’s dramatic career. It is a work in which, with newly-got confidence from the success of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Stoppard for the first time attempts to assert his own ideas on a topical and fundamental issue of morality. Naturally it provides a good opportunity to examine in detail and depth what Stoppard’s moral ideas actually are and how he presents them in his dramatic works. In Jumpers the moral, philosophical ideas are largely presented to us through George, so a careful examination of George’s position and views will have its merits in our understanding Jumpers and Stoppard as well. In a battle against the jumpers, the moral relativists and utilitarians, George also becomes a jumper; he jumps to the absolute, because there is no logical way to demonstrate god’s existence and his moral absolutism. Incomplete as they are, George’s arguments not only with its intellectual but also with its emotional appeal, makes us think about such moral questions as the relationship between the moral absolutism and the moral relativism, the question of altruism, and so on. Jumpers is solely built upon a hypothetical question what will become of the world, if the views held by the jumpers totally prevail. This seems to be a groundless fear because logical positivism, for example, had already lost all its edges by the time Jumpers was staged. It seems, however, that Jumpers has newly got relevance to the world we live in in the 21st century, as we witness a dramatic decrease in human values in almost all the areas of our social lives amid the ever-accelerating development of technology and the fierce competitions even based on ‘evolutionary psychology’ probably more radical than behaviourism,

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